It wasn't pretty, but the Celtics opened up their four-game West Coast trip with an 88-78 victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Paul Pierce scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half and Ray Allen took over in the third quarter with eight of his 18. Kendrick Perkins also had a strong night in his second game back with 10 points and nine rebounds in 21 minutes. Kevin Garnett added nine assists, including five in the third quarter when the Celtics began to get untracked.
The Celtics shot just 40 percent in the first half and turned it over 11 times, while allowing 12 offensive rebounds. That's normally a recipe for disaster for them, but they relied on their defense to get the win. The Blazers needed a late surge to get back in the game and still couldn't crack the 80-point barrier after shooting just 37 percent.
The Celtics head to Phoenix for the second game of a back-to-back Friday night where they expect to get Shaquille O'Neal back in the lineup.
For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.
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